Hurricane Irma causes minimal damage in DeKalb County
September 12, 2017 Share

Hurricane Irma causes minimal damage in DeKalb County

(DeKalb County Emergency Management Agency)

By Tyler Pruett, Managing Editor

tyler@southerntorch.com

FORT PAYNE, Ala. — Hurricane Irma passed through the North Alabama area late yesterday, with rainy and windy conditions continuing through today. The storm caused havoc in Florida, and caused widespread flooding in Georgia and South Carolina. Coastal cities like Charleston experienced a 10 foot storm surge and several inches of rain.

Anthony Clifton, Director of the DeKalb County Emergency Management Agency (EMA), said that the agency activated last Friday and began the planning process.

DeKalb County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Anthony Clifton gives a damage report to the County Commission. (Tyler Pruett | Southern Torch)

“During our activation, we didn’t have a whole lot of problems. We began to experience some problems on Saturday with some evacuees. Currently, we have 35 evacuees from Florida out at Ponderosa Bible Camp, we’ve got about 20 at Little River Campground that are in RVs, we’ve got about 10 more in a church in Mentone, and then two or three families are hosting some of their family that has came in from Florida,” explained Clifton.

“We didn’t have to open any community shelters, so we did not have to expend any county assets for that. We worked with our neighbors to make sure that we didn’t get into a situation where we had to do that. We did not have to activate the EOC past a level three, which is just our EMA staff in-house, but we were activated all night Sunday night and last night,” Clifton said.

“But as it turned out we had about 15 trees go down that we had to do something with, and the volunteer fire departments worked on that. We weren’t aware of any flooding. We had some minor power outages, well we had one in Mentone early; it wasn’t even night yet it was actually before dark. And about 10:30, 11 o’clock last night we had a pretty bad outage in Sylvania. Pretty much both sides of 75 in the Sylvania area went out for a short time, and it was just due to trees falling on power lines,” stated Clifton.

“What you have now is its going to continue to rain pretty much through the day, and at least should start to diminish. It should warm back up and we should have a good weekend. We got very lucky; we did have the state to activate. We did support operations for them over at Northeast College. The division opened up over there,” he said.

“We did not issue a local state of emergency; we didn’t see a reason for that. But Governor Ivey did issue a statewide declaration on Sunday, and then she talked to the president, and yesterday, the President signed a declaration of major disaster for the whole state. What that means is, we could wind up seeing some mitigation grant money after this storm, we don’t know how much or when, but there is a possibility for that,” stated Director Clifton.

“So that’s where we stand on that, we didn’t really experience anything out of the ordinary, but now, with that said, keep in mind this new storm has done it’s little curl, Jose. It looks like it could come back towards Florida or the Carolinas and get us again,” he said.

“Right now we have the Fort Payne City Water Board has a team deployed to South Georgia, and the Sheriff’s Office has six on standby to deploy with the law enforcement strike team to go down south under state mutual aide assets. What that means is since we do have a declaration, we will get reimbursed for any time that those folks are gone or any expenses they may have,” said Clifton.

“Right now they have noted that we may put up task force three, which Fort Payne Fire Heavy 9 team is part of that. We still don’t know if they will get deployed as far as recovery is concerned. But as it stands right now, that is all the assets we have, and we don’t have anybody other than the Sheriff’s Office called up right now to go help with recovery. It’s going to be a long, drawn out process, we could have some assets being deployed for recovery, but the good part of that is that will be reimbursed should that happen,” said Clifton.

Tom Broyles, Director of the DeKalb County Road Department also addressed the lack of storm damage: “I’m pleased we did come through the storm with very little damage. We are finding a few trees down, and some big limbs and things out laying in the road, and on the sides of the road that we are removing today, but we were very fortunate that we didn’t receive quite a bit more damage than that.

“I think the rain probably fell at a rate that didn’t cause any flooding problems either, which is also good. I’m pleased to be able to tell you that we didn’t receive any damage from this storm,” said Broyles.

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